Would you recognise a protected disclosure?

We just wanted to alert you to this latest piece of case law relating to Protected Disclosures – also know as ‘Whistle Blowing’.

In the case of Norbrook Laboratories (UK) Ltd v Shaw the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld the decision that a single protected disclosure be made in multiple communications to an employer, even if the individual communications is a protected disclosure.

The Claimant, who managed a sales team, had sent separate emails to different managers expressing concerns over the hazards of staff driving in snowy conditions. He alleged that his later dismissal was automatically unfair as a consequence of that protected disclosure.

It was held that separate communications considered together, even if made to different people, can amount to a protected disclosure even if separately they would not do so.

The EAT noted that on the facts, the recipient of a later email from the Claimant would have been aware of his previous communication. Following the case of Goode v Marks and Spencer, one communication may be regarded as “embedded” in another; there was no error in considering the Claimant’s communication with the Respondent as a whole in considering whether or not there had been a protected disclosure. The EAT also noted that the emails communicated “information” rather than simply making allegations or expressing opinion.

Are you and your managers clear on your Whistle Blowing Procedures and what constitutes a protected disclosure?
Please call us on 01386 751740 if you’d like any further information or guidance.